Twitter: 140 character updates. Facebook: your grandmother’s 80th birthday. Tumblr: anything and everything! Tumblr is a microblogging website where users post things like GIFs of their favorite TV scenes and thousand-word essays comparing the 15th century Medici family with the Kardashians. On average, users spend 14 minutes on Tumblr, which is longer than the average Facebook or Twitter visit. Tumblr is a great avenue to showcase your writing and engage with an eager audience. To get a better sense of what Tumblr is about, here are ten awesome authors to follow: Continue reading
We’re happy to have Valerie Emmerich on the Book Country blog! Valerie is currently workshopping a literary fiction novel titled ROOM TO SPARE, which was a December Editor’s Pick. Valerie shares how she developed the idea for ROOM TO SPARE and advice for fleshing out characters.
Janet Umenta: Growing up, what books inspired you?
Valerie Emmerich: I don’t think I can point to one book or books that specifically inspired me. I’ve always just loved to read and write. There were lots of books around our house, and I practically inhaled them. I loved Dickens and I remember being enthralled by THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO, THE DIARY OF ANN FRANK, THE GOOD EARTH, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, all quite different books. As I got older I ventured into the “grownup” books on the living room shelves and remember reading MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR (yes! A Jewish girl from the Bronx!) and IN COLD BLOOD. That may have set me up for my proclivity for reading contemporary literary fiction in my adult life. Continue reading
The American Society of Journalists and Authors will host its 44th annual conference from April 30th to May 2nd in NYC. Writers from across the country will attend 50+ informative sessions; one-on-one meetings with editors, agents, and publishers; three pitch slams; networking events and a keynote speech by bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan. Laura Laing, a freelance writer, shares why the ASJA conference is a crucial investment in her career. This post was originally published on the ASJA website on February 18, 2015.
My family knows not to schedule anything for the last weekend in April each year. For the last five years, I’ve spent those days at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City at the ASJA annual conference.
It’s not easy to rearrange my work and family schedules. And I could spend the money on something else. But it’s worth it—every single time. These days I don’t even question the decision. And here’s why. Continue reading
We’re happy to have Book Country member Gloria Oliver with us today! Gloria is currently workshopping INNER DEMONS, an urban fantasy novel. INNER DEMONS is one of April’s Editor’s Picks on Book Country. INNER DEMONS was published by Mundania Press in early 2014. Gloria shares what it means to be a speculative fiction writer and tips on choosing the perfect title.
Lucy Silag: Tell us more about yourself. How did you become a writer, and how did you find your way to Book Country?
Gloria Oliver: As I kid, I always had a hard time falling asleep. This led me to making up stories in my head to entertain myself until slumber finally came. One day, one of these stories kept bugging me to actually put it on paper – so I did. A few years later, the bug bit me again as I got a neat idea for a fantasy novel, and this time the infection set in deep. I’ve not looked back since.
I heard about Book Country back when it was being put together. The day job at the time had slow days here and there, and I’d found out about an evil Outlook add-on that would convert Twitter items to email and put them into a personal folder. This was just around the time social media was catching on big time, and I followed people like Kristen Lamb, Chuck Wendig, and many other writers and publishers. Through them, I learned of Colleen Lindsay from Penguin and followed her as well. And soon after Colleen started talking about a venture she was very excited about – a “Sekret Projekt” she was involved in, one where she and her peers hoped to create a place where authors could meet, share, help each other, and create a long lasting community.
Colleen even did a ‘reveal’ presentation in Dallas during the DFW Writers Conference back in 2011. The goals and concept of Book Country sounded fascinating and well thought out, so I signed up! Continue reading
Ask an Agent is back! All throughout April, post your question for a literary agent on the discussion board. Four agents will answer questions on the Book Country blog in May.
Literary agents help writers in every step of the publishing process, including contract negotiations, marketing, and cover design. The writer-agent relationship is incredibly important when going the traditional publishing route. We hope our Ask an Agent blog series helps shed light on what you should look for in an agent and what to expect come publishing time!
Check out last year’s Ask an Agent blog posts:
Ask an Agent: Lucy Carson Answers Your Questions!
Ask an Agent: Melissa Sarver White Answers Your Questions!
Ask an Agent: Ryan D. Harbage Answers Your Questions!
Ask an Agent: David Fugate Answers Your Questions!
Submit your question for a literary agent on the discussion board: Book Country Ask an Agent Blog Series 2015.
I had an amazing time reading GABRIEL FINLEY & THE RAVEN’S RIDDLE! Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, GABRIEL FINLEY follows twelve-year-old Gabriel on his journey to find his missing father with the help of his riddle-loving raven, Paladin. Set in Brooklyn, New York, this story was full of magic and plot twists; I didn’t know if Gabriel was going to make it until the very end! Author George Hagen shares what inspired him to write GABRIEL FINLEY and his experience writing for children for the first time. Anne Schwartz, the editor of GABRIEL FINLEY, shares what’s it like when a book clicks for her.
Janet Umenta: Your two previously published books were written for adults. What made you decide to write a children’s book? How would you compare writing for adults with writing for children?
George Hagen: My younger daughter Lola challenged me to write her a book. She was 10 and specified that it should be both exciting and magical. I loved stories like that at her age, but my adult books were quite realistic in tone. Every weekend we took family walks across the Brooklyn Bridge to Chinatown for lunch, and I had to invent a story engaging enough to keep Lola walking. I learned quickly what kept her interest. Her favorite situations were a) when magic goes wrong, b) when children are more competent than adults, and c) when children have the power to communicate with animals. So, I followed those rules. Continue reading